Funds to help alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic on the poor and informal workers
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa has assured Indian Finance Minister and ADB Governor Nirmala Sitharaman of ADB’s support to India in its fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a call, Mr. Asakawa commended the Indian government’s decisive response to the pandemic, including a national health emergency programme, tax and other relief measures provided to businesses, and a $23 billion economic relief package announced at the end of March to provide immediate income and consumption support to the poor, women and workers affected by the three-week nationwide lockdown.
“ADB is committed to supporting India’s emergency needs. We are now preparing $2.2 billion in immediate assistance to the health sector and to help alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic on the poor, informal workers, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the financial sector,” Mr. Asakawa said. “ADB assistance for India will be further increased if needed. We will consider all financing options available with us to meet India’s needs, including emergency assistance, policy-based loans and budget support to facilitate swift disbursement of ADB funds.”
ADB is also engaged with the private sector to meet its financing needs during this period.
Weakening global economic growth is causing disruptions in India’s trade and manufacturing supply chains, along with the slowdown in tourism and other economic activities. This is straining the large number of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and the livelihood of formal and informal laborers across the country. Mr. Asakawa said the policy measures announced by the government will provide much-needed relief and stimulus to the most vulnerable people as well as businesses and become a basis for faster recovery.
On 18th March, ADB had announced an initial package of approximately $6.5 billion to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including India, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice whenever the situation warrants.
The Asian Development Bank is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
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